Think Twice: Animals are not holiday souvenirs!10.04.2014
Shoes made of reptile leather, snake wine or elephant feet as decorative items are not appropriate souvenirs to be packed in tourists’ luggage. Customs authorities are calling attention to this fact at the start of this year’s Easter holidays, one of the high travel-seasons of the year.
Protection of species is the object of special attention at the airport as well. Every year, thousands of illegally imported holiday souvenirs made from endangered species are confiscated by customs officials. Estimates indicate that 20% of the organisms on the Red List could go extinct by 2030, and exotic holiday souvenirs bear a significant part of the blame for this development.
Travellers are subject to substantial fines. Imprisonment is a possible penalty in especially serious cases. Caution is also advised when acquiring medical products abroad; traditional Chinese medicines, for example, can contain elements from tigers, cobras, bears, rhinoceroses or seahorses and should not be purchased at all. Permitted souvenirs include handicraft items made of clay, textiles or ceramic.